In the US a settlement agreement resolved the US Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers v. Google Book Search Copyright Class Action filed in September 2005. This settlement, which covers all books protected by copyright in the United States, allows Google to vastly expand what it can do with digital copies of books. But a group of German Authors are outraged at Google Book Scanning and not having been asked for permission to scan and publish their books online. German politicians are also voicing their dismay and pledging to protect author rights. The appeal-known as “Heidelberger Appeal”- by 1,300 German authors was sent to German President Horst Köhler, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states. The authors are opposed to Google’s ongoing scanning of ca. 7 million books and providing them for online viewing.
German Federal Commissioner for Culture Bernd Neumann and Hans-Joachim Otto, Head of the German parliament’s Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs were telling the “Bild” : “Intellectual property has to be just as protected as material property. All creativity will be destroyed if you have a mentality that everything should be free.” German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries regards Google’s action “unacceptable” and one of the authors of the “Heidelberger Appeal”, Roland Reuss strongly criticized the settlement: “As I see it, the fact that an American district court has decided what happens with German books is a scandal.”
© Flavia Westerwelle